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Penetration Testing

16 Nov, 2023

If cyber security is important to your company and you use a lot of software for this purpose, you probably understand that if a cyber attack has not yet taken place, it is quite possible that at any moment strangers will want to break into your network. Regular Penetration Testing can detect/remove cyber security weaknesses and preemptively protect the network from expected attacks.
Penetration Testing – this is penetration testing, i.e. simulating a cyber attack on the network in order to maximize security measures.
Imagine that your network already has appropriate protection systems, eg Firewall, NGFR, IPS, etc., but you want to check how well they actually protect the system.
Looking for a team of relevant professionals who offer Penetration testing. They simulate an attack, study defense weaknesses and, based on the relevant information, act to improve the security of your own network.

Penetration testing methods

External penetration testing aims to attack the company’s assets that are visible on the Internet, for example, the web application, the company’s website, e-mail, and domain name servers (DNS). The purpose of this testing is to gain access and valuable data.
In internal testing, the tester, who has access to the system behind the firewall, simulates a “malicious employee” attack. This is not necessarily a simulation of a rogue employee. He may be a person who has been tricked in a phishing attack.
Phishing attack – when attackers send SPAM emails designed to trick people. Their purpose is to get users to give out their financial or personal information.
In blind testing, the tester is given only the name of the company to be attacked and no other data. which allows security personnel to observe the attack process and study system weaknesses.
During double-blind testing, security personnel is unaware of the simulated attack. They don’t have time to strengthen the defense and manage the attack.

In this scenario, both the tester and the security personnel work together and evaluate each other. This simulation is focused on the development of the security team and ensures that the right decisions are made at the right time when dealing with hackers.

What level of access do testers have?

Depending on the testing objectives, testers have different levels of access to the system. After specifying the testing objectives, the tester requests access to one or more of the 3 levels.

There are 3 levels of access:

  • OPAQUE BOX – sealed box: The team knows nothing about the system’s internal structure. He acts as a hacker and tries to penetrate the system from the outside and explore its weaknesses.
  • SEMI_OPAQUE BOX – The team has some knowledge of the system. He knows about the internal structures, code, and algorithms of the system.
  • TRANSPARENT BOX – Testers can access the system and its artifacts, including source code, containers, and sometimes servers that run the system. This approach provides the highest level of assurance – in the shortest amount of time.
Penetration testing

Stages of penetration testing

  • Discussion of systems to be tested and testing methods. Determination of scope and objectives.
  • Gathering data (eg network and domain names, server) to better understand how vulnerable the network could potentially be.

In the next step, we will learn how different target applications will respond to intrusion attempts. For this we need to use the following:

  • Static analysis target web Checking the code before it starts working. to evaluate how it works. The static analysis uses predefined security codes to work. – Checking the code of the target web application before starting work. to evaluate how it works. Static analysis uses predefined security codes to work.
  • Dynamic analysis – this is a more practical way of scanning because it ensures the security of the application during operation.
This stage uses such attacks as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and backdoors to find the vulnerable points of the web application. After finding such vulnerable points, he tries to harm the network – stealing information, penetrating the system, and finding out what damage the corresponding weakness can cause.
At this stage, a professional stay in your security systems for a long time to assess how stable the security system is working and whether it is possible to weaken its capacity over time.

After conducting the penetration test, a report is made, which describes in detail:

  • Specific weaknesses that were revealed during testing
  • Easily reveal sensitive information that should be protected as much as possible.
  • How long was a professional tester able to remain undetected in the system.

How often should you perform penetration testing?

There is no classic model for how often a company should perform penetration testing. The number is determined by several components, such as company size, revenue, assets, etc.
Regardless of company size and statistics, the digital landscape is constantly changing and attackers will use all kinds of new ways to achieve their goals. When software updates are released, they need to be carefully tested and patched to ensure that there are no vulnerable programs that could adversely affect your company’s security.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of penetration testing?

Positive:

  • In penetration testing, you find vulnerabilities that can be automatically managed in programs, architectural analysis, configuration, coding, etc.
  • Testing detects both known and unknown software and security flaws, including minimal ones that may not be a major problem for the program, but may cause significant material damage.
  • Testing can attack any system, it behaves like the evilest hacker, so you are always ready to prevent the strongest attack.

Negative:

  • Testing is time-consuming and requires a large budget
  • Does not prevent flaws perfectly (which is probably not surprising, because there are additional software and also hardware provisions to eliminate flaws)
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